News and Publications


The Board of Professional Responsibility provides these online resources to help keep the legal community and the public informed about the Board's actions and legal happenings throughout the state of Tennessee.

Latest News

 

Rule 8 Amendments

On July 11, 2016, the Tennessee Bar Association filed a petition asking the Court to amend Rule 8 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court. In summary, the TBA proposed to amend selected portions of Rule 8 in light of similar revisions to the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct that were adopted by the ABA's House of Delegates in August, 2012. In addition, the TBA also proposed a number of housekeeping amendments to Rule 8. On August 18, 2016, the Court entered an order soliciting comments on the proposed amendments. The Court received comments from the Board of Professional Responsibility and the Knoxville Bar Association. After due consideration, the Supreme Court entered an Order on March 6, 2017, adopting the proposed amendments as set out in the Appendix attached to the Order. The amendments took effect immediately upon the filing of the Order (read Order here).

Rule 19 Amendment

On January 25, 2017, the Supreme Court of Tennessee entered an Order amending Rule 19 to eliminate a potential conflict between Rule 19 and Rule 7, section 5.01(g)(8). Read Order.

New Formal Ethics Opinion

The Board of Professional Responsibility was requested by the State of Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Department of Labor and Workforce Development to issue a Formal Ethics Opinion regarding the extent to which an ombudsman attorney may provide “limited legal advice” within the meaning of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 50-6-216(e)(3) which provides that “[a]n ombudsman who is not a licensed attorney shall not provide legal advice however, an ombudsman who is a licensed attorney may provide limited legal advice however, an ombudsman who is a licensed attorney may provide limited legal advice but shall not represent any party as the party’s attorney.  No ombudsman shall make attorney referrals.” Read Formal Ethics Opinion 2017-F-162.

New Board Members

The Board extends thanks to retiring Board members Michael Callaway, Margaret Craddock, and Wade Davies for their recent service to the Board.  The Board would also like to welcome newly-appointed Board members Ruth Ellis, Tyreece Miller, and Bridget Willhite. (Click here to read the Order.)

2016 Ethics Workshop

Over 225 attorneys attended the Board of Professional Responsibility's 2016 Ethics Workshop which was held on November 4th at the Nashville School of Law. Each attorney attending had the opportunity to earn 6.0 hours of dual CLE credits. The opening greeting was delivered by Chief Justice Jeffery S. Bivins, and the workshop featured other prominent speakers such as Dawn Deaner, Torry Johnson and David Veile speaking on Ethics in Criminal Law; Bill Ramsey's presentation on An Attorney's Competent Use of Technology; Judge Robert Childers and Amy Amundsen speaking about Family Law Issues, and Judge Sheila Calloway and Magistrate Carlton Lewis speaking about Juvenile Law Issues; Gail Ashworth's presentation on the Evolving Legal Market and Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Profession; Laura McClendon and Keith Pope sharing information about the Tennessee Lawyer's Assistance Program (TLAP); and Bill Harbison discussing the United States Supreme Court's same sex marriage case.  The Board's 2017 Ethics Workshop is scheduled for Friday, November 3, 2017.

Supreme Court Amends Rules 8 and 43

On July 13, 2016, the Board of Professional Responsibility and the Tennessee Bar Foundation filed a petition asking the Court to amend Rule 8, RPC 1.15 and Rule 43 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court to allow attorneys to deposit trust funds in federally insured credit unions.  On October 4, 2016, the Court entered an Order adopting the proposed amendments.  Click here to read the Order.

Fall 2016 issue of Board Notes

The Fall 2016 issue of Board Notes is now available.  Board Notes is a semi-annual publication of the Board of Professional Responsibility which offers articles of interest and other information to Tennessee attorneys and judges such as recently-issued Formal Ethics Opinions and recent Disciplinary Actions.  Click here to read the Fall 2016 issue of Board Notes.

Formal Ethics Opinion 2016-F-161:  "Settlement Agreement and Release of Lawyer Work Product"

The Board of Professional Responsibility has issued a Formal Ethics Opinion on the ethical propriety of a settlement agreement that requires the release of lawyer work product.  Click here to read Formal Ethics Opinion 2016-F-161.

Special Edition Board Notes

The Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP), the Board of Professional Responsibility, the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners and the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education have partnered to publish this Special Edition Board Notes.  The focus of this newsletter is the recently released study by the American Bar Association/Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation on substance use and other mental health concerns among American attorneys. We are hopeful this study and the related articles assist lawyers and judges by providing helpful information and tools to improve lawyer wellness and our profession.

Amended Formal Ethics Opinion 2015-F-160(a):  "Client Files"

On March 11, 2016, the Board of Professional Responsibility issued amended Formal Ethics Opinion 2015-F-160(a), which clarifies that RPC 1.15 does not require client files be retained five years; however, the Board recommends as a guideline that client files be retained five years. Other factors such as client consent may alter that recommended five-year retention period. Click here to read amended Formal Ethics Opinion 2015-F-160(a).

Formal Ethics Opinion 2015-F-160:  "Client Files"

On December 11, 2015, the Board issued a new Formal Ethics Opinion providing guidance for lawyers regarding the lawyer's responsibility with regard to client files.  Click here to read Formal Ethics Opinion 2015-F-160.

**Notice to Fax Recipients**

Please be advised that effective immediately the Board of Professional Responsibility will be sending releases of information by email and will no longer be sending releases of information by facsimile.

If you are a judge, you will receive releases by email.  If you are not a judge and want to continue receiving releases, please send your email contact information to releases@tbpr.org.

Additionally, please note that all releases can also be accessed by clicking on "Informational Releases" in the "News and Publications" section of this website.

The Board and staff appreciate your interest in the Tennessee Supreme Court's disciplinary system.

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